Swimmers Sue Niagara University over Sexual Harassment

Swimmers claim coach showed "deliberate indifference" when informed

Tom Puckett
September 26, 2019 - 6:10 pm

Lewiston, NY (WBEN) Members of the Niagara University women's swimming team are suing, claiming they were sexually harassed by members of the men's team.

Attorneys Cheryl Meyers Buth and Laurie Baker say the women were subjected to physical intimidation and other harassment by members of the men's swimming team. "These women swimmers were called profane and vulgar names, and over the course of years, they reported to the administration, the coach, the athletic director, even the dean, they were brushed aside and nothing was done," says Meyers Buth. "There have been occasions when women swimmers injured when being pushed into bushes." One woman allegedly was called a "water buffalo," while another allegedly was referred to as "Princess Thigh Gap."

They're seeking financial compensation as well as other ways to make things fair and equal. "The court can order the program be changed structually by hiring a female coach full time. The court can also appoint a monitor to make sure there's compliance with Title IX," says Meyers Buth.

One of the three swimmers is still part of the time, a second is still a student but gave up her scholarship, and a third is a graduate who was part of the team and witnessed some of the misconduct.

"We've had a number of parents call our office to discuss their daughters who experienced the same thing, so there could be more things coming," says Baker. 

Niagara University issued the following statement:

We are aware of a lawsuit that was recently filed in federal court. Niagara University's foremost priority is the well-being of every member of our campus community. We proceed with due diligence to examine any issue that is brought forward that may compromise our culture, while ensuring that we do not rush to judgment or reach conclusions before the completion of the process. Where it is necessary and appropriate, the university engages independent investigators. To ensure the integrity of the process, and out of respect for every individual involved, we do not comment on ongoing matters.

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